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Wisdom: 10 Words or Less…

A common carving on DC monuments where we live

Here’s a quick-and-dirty ranking of the pithiest, most useful kernels of wisdom I’ve learned in life thus far. Each is actionable and well worth additional study and investigation. Please comment with other concise, worthy insights but remember the actual phrase must be 10-words or less:

10. A Quiet Word Turns Away Wrath – this is perhaps one of the most useful snippets on this list. I don’t care if it’s an argument in the boardroom, classroom or bedroom – next time a discussion escalates or heats up, lower your verbal tone and watch what happens.

9. It’s Not How Something Starts But Rather How It Ends – so many of us have a short-term focus. Planning for the end is key to a successful, enduring strategy regardless of the endeavor.

8. Consider the Needs of Others Above Your Own – this is difficult to argue with yet equally difficult to implement in our dog-eat-dog, me-first culture. However, when it’s achieved and implemented the benefits of this strategy help provide context and meaning to all that you do.

7. Little Foxes Spoil the Vineyard – I wrote about this yesterday, which helped inspire today’s post. This saying alludes to a biblical parable that demonstrates the importance of the details, small decisions and little things in life that have a cumulative effect and lead to much larger issues both positively and negatively. I would say that this is the area where I need the greatest help, because I tend to let details slip.

6. Peace, Be Still – again, this is another bit of wisdom that I tend to have trouble applying yet it truly has application in our hurly-burly, fragmented, post-modern existence. Periodically taking time to consciously remove ourselves from the cares and distractions of life is critically important to maintaining balance in all things. Whether you call it meditation, quiet time or prayer – such daily introspection is necessary to remain grounded in what really matters within this life.

5. The Rain Falls on Both the Just and Unjust Alike – tragically awful things happen to both good and bad people in life, there’s no escaping that reality. While there is beauty in the world, the world is ultimately broken and we’re part of that brokenness. Blaming God, our parents, or the predators of pain in our lives is not the answer. While we can’t control the past or circumstances we may have endured, we can certainly control how we respond – possibly being an example to others who have experienced similar pain or loss.

4. As Someone Thinks, So They Are – the idea here is that our actions and words are outward manifestations of our inner nature. You might be able to fake it for a period of time, but your true intent, purpose and self will ultimately emerge. Just as you feed your body daily, make sure you feed your thoughts and self-talk with the best content around (such as this blog and my book A Question of Faith ;-)

3. Whatever You Do, Do It With All of Your Heart – this is a different turn of phrase to the classic principle that anything worth doing is worth doing well. Not much more to say about that…..

2. Be a Cheerful Giver – despite these tough economic times I personally believe that having an authentically positive attitude toward giving and helping others less fortunate than yourself is an important life lesson that ultimately helps you as much as the person that’s actually “in need.” It’s a mystery that I don’t fully understand but the most blessed, prosperous and happy people I know are genuinely generous with their time, energy and finances.

1. Teams Make Better Decisions Than Individuals – this is the single most valuable learning that I gleaned from my years of graduate study at business school. It’s a lesson I should have learned during little league (and at other junctures of life) but I wasn’t ready for the enormity of this truth until it ultimately sunk in.

Question: What are some of the gems of knowledge you’d like to share – remember they must be 10 words or less?

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Comments

  1. Be kind.

  2. Life is what you make it.

  3. Kim Hall says:

    Great list!
    Here is my addition:
    Embracing grit in your life turns problems into pearls.

  4. I have so many, I would have to commandeer your blog for a week or a month.
    One of the first with which I fell in love… Eschew obfuscstion. That says it all in just 2! Voltaire’s pithy (baudy?) maxim is longer than 10 words but only contains only 8 different words (come on, you knew I would find a way to subvert the rules!) May you live as long as you want to, and want to as long as you live!

  5. You are known by the company you keep – this is a good one especially in child rearing.
    And from Psalms, “Be still and know that I am God.” This goes with your #6.

  6. Love it! Mine is: Life is 10% your circumstances and 90% your attitude.

  7. Another well-written article, Tor! How about “Do Unto Others As You’d Have Done To You?”

  8. Meredithmcnerney says:

    Let go. Let God!

  9. “If you don’t have something good to say, say nothing.”

    Good advice from my mom!

  10. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.

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